NEWS: British Airways reveals more about Gatwick plans, and Hilton automated upgrades

BA Gatwick

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British Airways reveals more about Gatwick plans

You may have seen on Twitter yesterday that I shared a leaked memo about recruitment for BA’s new low-cost airline at Gatwick. This was originally published on Flyertalk and reveals a few interesting tidbits.

The airline is expected to start at the end of March 22 but it’s a bit tight to launch a new airline in that time and get all the necessary permissions. The airline will only fly in Europe so long haul from Gatwick will continue to operate with the current crew. 

Although it will have a low cost in terms of staff with basic salaries starting at £15,848, as previously stated it will look and feel the same as the rest of BA to the passengers.

BA describes it as “a full-service premium airline competing on leisure routes from Gatwick, operating a range of European point-to-point flying” and that in competing with Wizz Air and EasyJet they expect to “stand out from the crowd with our unique British Airways service”.

The schedule is not likely to be as full as pre-Covid since they will only operate 17 aircraft there. Some routes could still operate from Heathrow that are traditionally Gatwick routes. Jersey looks a good bet to stay at Heathrow since there will be no nighstops for crew or aircraft to keep costs down on the new airline. This would mean an early service from Jersey would not be feasible. I have always thought that having it at Gatwick was a bit silly given its a premium route and many people connect onto other BA services. 

According to @toflytotravel British Airways are aiming to have the summer Gatwick schedule sorted by the end of this month. So for those asking about specific destinations from Gatwick, we should know the true picture pretty soon. 


Hilton automated upgrades details

Hilton Rijeka Costabella Beach Resort and Spa Panoramic Suite

I wrote fairly recently about Hilton’s new automated upgrades that will show in your account prior to check in, allowing you to select your room location on the app. To be fair I often get upgrades showing before check-in anyway, but this is a more organised way to do it.

When possible, Hilton will notify Gold and Diamond members of their complimentary upgrade 72 hours prior to arrival. You also need to book your stay at least 72 hours in advance to be considered for an automatic upgrade.  The upgrades are done automatically based on what rooms are available but the hotel can set in advance what category of room they will upgrade each status to. 


How it Works

Eligible members will receive an email and a Hilton Honors app push notification alerting them of their complimentary upgraded room. Once received, if the hotel offers Digital Check-In, the member can easily choose the location of their upgraded room through the app 36 hours prior to arrival.

All stays under seven nights are eligible for this early confirmation, and it will be available at all Hilton brands globally where space-available upgrades are currently offered, including Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Signia by Hilton and Tapestry Collection by Hilton.

Hilton has now revealed how they plan to prioritise the upgrades and it’s pretty shocking:

1. Redemption Stays (Over 100,000 Points)

2. Lifetime Diamond

3. Diamond

4. Gold

So if someone who has earned a load of points on Amex and converted them into Hilton points but has zero status and in effect has spent no cash with the hotel either, they get priority over someone who Lifetime Diamond. This seems crazy to me!

Although setting the bar at 100,000 points means that for most hotels they will be staying more than one night which can make it harder to offer an upgrade anyway as it needs to be available both nights.

UPDATE: Hilton responded to the article saying

With space-available upgrades being one of our program’s most important perks, we launched this benefit enhancement to celebrate our Gold and Diamond members.

Hilton Honors elite members are eligible to receive a complimentary upgrade based on a mix of criteria, including their membership status, room inventory at the hotel and length of stay, to name a few. These factors help us award upgrades to make elite members’ stays more meaningful. Gold, Diamond and Lifetime Diamond members are eligible to receive a guaranteed room upgrade 72 hours prior to their arrival based on hotel availability, and member status/tier is the first criteria considered.

Hotels cannot opt out of providing this benefit, which is currently available at the Hilton brands where space-available complimentary upgrades are currently offered as a Hilton Honors member benefit.

HT: Loyalty Lobby


5 Comments on "NEWS: British Airways reveals more about Gatwick plans, and Hilton automated upgrades"

  1. With only 17 aircraft set to operate from there it would suggest that they top up the balance sheet for the new entity with slot sales. Wizz have aggressively made clear they have no interest in leasing or renting slots and they ( BA) won’t want to offer them to EZY and they are already LGWs prime carrier and although BA lost that to them a few years back it still dents their pride. Even working the fleet/ crews in the same way as the LCC’s i’m not certain they could hit the 80% ‘use it or lose it’ threshold so they may HAVE to look at trying to offload some tactically.

    I know that Gatters is planning on a fairly aggressive North American serenade to try and get some of the US/ CAN operators to use them in ’22 with, I imagine, pretty favourable rates and other sweeteners but of course with the short time scale and confidentiality surrounding such things I don’t know if BA would have time to include them in options. LGW has always struggled to attract them though but dung these times it might actually work out as the deals offered short term could make it a more attractive proposition. Ryanair is looking to expand Ops there so they might be a good fit as BA would view that as a way to hurt EZY.

    Whilst I agree it’s a tight timescale I imagine a certain amount of ‘Grandfathering’ will be used by both BA/ IAG and HM Gov which should help somewhat. I also imagine that since we’re now out of the EU the Gov would rather assist BA in getting setup in time for the ‘UIOLI’ exemption ending for both us and the EU ( which is currently expected to last till Q2 ’22) so they can be seen to be helping ‘TeamGB’ rather than outside airlines( YUP fully aware who owns them but in GenPop eyes they mostly view it as a UK airline/ company).

    I just want them to be back in south and in that lounge which to I rank way above any of the Club lounges in LHR by a country mile.

    • CLARIFICATION: UIOLI set to end at end of Q1, coming into effect beginning of Q2. So end of March, beginning of April ’22

  2. Be interesting to see if we get offered any upgrade at Hilton Geneva in advance of check in on Thursday!

  3. Does this imply that not receiving an upfront email 72hours prior means there will be no upgrade even at the check-in?

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